Children in Palestine are also suffering

Dr. Saniya Al-Husseini

While the world celebrated “International Children’s Day” a few days ago, Palestinians suffer from anxiety and fear for the fate of their children, in light of the occupation system that stalks them and their future, adopting a policy of unbridled killing, systematic arrest, attempts at intimidation and brainwashing, through intimidation of minor children during arrest and imprisonment, and through the imposition of censorship on educational programs in the West Bank and the Arabization of education in Jerusalem. During this year alone, 49 Palestinian children were killed by the fire of occupation soldiers, and the number of child martyrs in the past two decades exceeded two thousand children, not to mention the injuries of thousands of children, many of whom lost their lives. permanently disabled, and the occupation authorities are holding the bodies of a number of murdered children. According to statistics, more than 50,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza territories, including 20,000 children since 2000, i.e. in the last two decades alone, and 10,000 children since 2015, i.e. in the last seven years. , on the rise My number is extremely dangerous, which indicates the existence of a systematic policy of oppression of Palestinians in order to deter them, especially from the category of children and future generations. The approach seems clearer following the policies of the occupation and military orders, whose measures against Palestinian children have escalated in recent years. Things are expected to get more complicated in the coming days, in light of the growing right-wing orientation and extremism of Israeli society and its government.

The systematic arrest of Palestinian children is one of the forms of suffering imposed on the Palestinians by the occupation, as the number of arrested children reached 1,000 children in the West Bank this year alone, including the city of Jerusalem, and the number exceeded 1,300 children during the past year, in an area whose population does not exceed three million people. The occupation began arresting children since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, but intensified its arrest policy during the first Palestinian uprising in 1987, on charges of throwing stones, and the policy evolved significantly after the 2000 Palestinian uprising. The phenomenon of arrests among Jerusalem children is remarkable, especially in light of the friction, provocations and attacks of settlers living in Jerusalem, who are under the surveillance of cameras scattered throughout the city. Occupying forces arrest children under the age of 12, and sometimes even younger, and subject them to investigation. The occupation uses methods of intimidation, intimidation and humiliation when arresting these children, who forcibly broke into their homes at night, beat them in front of their families, put blindfolds and handcuffs on them. The occupying authorities also hold children for interrogation for several days, using various methods of physical and psychological torture, not allowing lawyers or parents to be present, or even to obtain any information about their detained children.

The occupying authorities force these children under threat to confess or sign a confession document in Hebrew, which the child does not know, which constitutes irrefutable evidence of guilt before these courts. Defense for Children International documented the ways in which charges were brought against children during 2009, with 81% of those charges stemming from the confessions of the children themselves, and 32% of those confessions being in the form of a confession document in the Hebrew language which the child signing the confession does not know. Military courts under whose jurisdiction the occupied Palestinian territories can issue administrative sentences to children, i.e. a six-month sentence that can be indefinitely renewed, without a specific charge against the child. Today, 12 children were sentenced to administrative detention in prisons. Israeli military courts also sentence Palestinian children to lengthy sentences that are disproportionate to the child’s age and the charges against them, and stone-throwing is punishable by sentences of up to ten and sometimes up to twenty years. The occupying authorities deliberately expose Palestinian children detained in their prisons to very complex health, physical and psychological suffering, with the aim of affecting the human makeup of these children.

The occupation authorities treat Palestinian children through military orders that violate international human rights law and international humanitarian law, not to mention their implementation of a policy of racial segregation due to the discriminatory treatment of Palestinians and Jews relocated to live in illegal settlements established in the occupied West Bank , which is a crime against humanity. The occupation authorities, in their relations with Palestinian children, rely on a series of military orders that have developed in accordance with the development of the objectives of the occupation in the occupied territories. According to Military Order no. 132 issued in 1967, Israel considered a child to be a person under the age of 16, and in 2013 issued Military Order no. 711, considering that a child is a person under 12 years of age. This is in contrast to Israeli penal law applied within the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which considers a child to be any person under the age of 18, which is also in line with Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is considered one of the policies of apartheid carried out by the occupation against the Palestinians.

Although Military Order no. 1644 of 2009 allowed the establishment of a military court for minors for children, after 42 years of trial before military courts for adults, this new order did not provide protection to these children during investigation and questioning, nor sentences commensurate with their age and charges. Military order no. 378 allowed the detention of Palestinian children, including children, for up to 8 days before appearing before military courts. Military order no. 1726 from 2013 extended the period of pretrial detention for a child before the deadline for indictment is 15 days, while the Military Appeals Court allows an extension of that deadline, an additional ten days with the possibility of extension. This is despite the fact that an adult Israeli is brought to justice within 24 hours, in accordance with a clear policy of separation and racial discrimination. Military order no. 1591 allows administrative detention of Palestinians, including children. Military order no. 378 allows sentences of up to life imprisonment for children. Although the occupation authorities subjected the children of the city of Jerusalem to the authority of Israel’s Juvenile Law, after the annexation of the Holy City in 1967, they amended it in 2015 and lowered the age of children. Punishments such as deportation and house arrest are additional punishments for children.

Israel, as an occupying power, violates international law in its dealings with Palestinians, adults and children, and these violations will escalate in the coming days. The right wing of Israeli society has clearly escalated recently. In addition to the results of the parliamentary elections, which have successively produced an increasingly right-wing and more extremist political system, recent public opinion polls indicate an increase in street support for Israel’s killing of Palestinians, even in cases where they do not pose a threat to the army, and an increase in support for the use of punishment, the execution of Palestinians and the initiation of new wars on Gaza to prevent the firing of rockets. In a recent development from the election results, Benjamin Netanyahu concluded his negotiations to form his coalition government with the leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben Gvir, giving him the internal security portfolio with expanded powers. The leader of the religious Zionist party, Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right, calls for the Ministry of the Army, which allows him to intervene in the occupied Palestinian territories. Although Smotrich has not yet gotten what he wants, in light of Netanyahu’s desire for his party to retain the foreign, war and finance portfolios, security issues for the Palestinians appear to be on the upswing. And that in a country whose population is under the rule of the occupation, suffering daily incursions of its armed forces on their land, streets and homes and regular arrests in their ranks, as well as killing and liquidation of their people in front of their eyes, resistance to the occupation seems natural and logical things, and that equation, experience shows, there is no possibility to change, the past is only to free them from the grip of the occupier. The violence and terror of the Israeli occupation has only resulted in greater Palestinian rejection and defiance. Neither will a child forget and forgive those who killed, arrested or insulted his family, nor will adults forget and forgive those who killed his children and deprived him of them. No matter how much the right-wing and extremist occupation government escalates, Palestinian efforts to deter and oppose the occupation will not stop.

Palestinian writer

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